“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
By Alex P. Vidal
If we think Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman Rene Villa is embarrassed by latest report that he had professional links with jailed bogus NGO organizer Janet Lim-Napoles, we can be dead wrong.
Villa, who could not win a congressional seat as long as the Defensor father and son — Iloilo Gov. Arthur Sr. and Rep. Arthur “Toto” Jr. — are lording over the third district of Iloilo, must be enjoying the kind of publicity he has been reaping in the national media these past days.
Touted as one of the most brilliant Ilonggo lawyers to ever serve the cabinet during the time of President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; and now in the cabinet of President Nonoy Aquino, Villa’s admission that he once served as Napoles’ lawyer and financial adviser is not actually a mortal sin.
Nobody gets jailed or stripped of his dignity for counseling a charlatan in the past. Nobody loses his job for waltzing with a Madame Bovary or a Lady Chatterley. Any politician worth his salt in Villa’s shoes today would prance around the paddock if given the same opportunity to expound on his ties with a high profile inmate in national media.
The kind of publicity that Villa is enjoying in the Napoles l’affaire is the kind of publicity that most politicians want–and need!
Notwithstanding the eerie tag and freakish notoriety attached to her name, Napoles can still be considered now as a celebrity in her own right–and a national figure to boot.
To be linked to Napoles in a not-so-scandalous fashion isn’t an outright kiss of death. It may, a little bit, dampen a public servant’s bid for an Order of Sikatuna award, but not his political career.
In a country where popularity is convertible to elective government post, the more you are mentioned in media–and the controversy you are embroiled with is endlessly tackled in prime time and headline news, the more that your name-recall edge will be amplified and sharpened. Voters will easily remember you during election period whether you belong in the reel or real world.
It is easy to decipher if Villa detested the Napoles link publicity. If he refused to elaborate further, that means he was uncomfortable in the “hot seat” he was in. But if he was willing to talk and share willingly what he knew and in the mood to flash his brilliancy in the Q and A arena, you can bet he was in the joy ride.
The late former House Speaker Jose M. Aldeguer (Nacionalista Party, Iloilo 5th district) would reportedly pay radio block time talents to lambast him on air. Aldeguer believed that if no one was attacking him as a public official, he was not doing his job; that means he was lousy and irrelevant.
The late former Senator and Iloilo City Mayor Rodolfo “Roding” T. Ganzon considered bad publicity and criticism as “good” if leveled against a politician.
“They (my political opponents and media) can say anything they want under the sun against me as a public servant. I will not complain. Basta indi lang sila mag alegar nga putyong ako because only my wife has the right to say that,” enthused Ganzon, the “Stormy Petrel of the South.”
Fans and admirers of Chairman Rene Villa should relax and enjoy the show.